"Wine lover marries fashion addict. Blog ensues."
That's Carey Wodehouse's Twitter bio. It's also the short story behind Corks and Caftans, an endearing and addictive journal-style blog written by Saratoga Springs-based newlyweds
Corks and Caftans hit the big time -- in the fashion world, anyway -- a couple weeks ago when Carey was featured as a favorite blogger on ShopBop.com's blog (definitely worth a read, especially for Carey's personal style description). And with good reason. The personality Carey and Rob bring to the site is personal and refreshing -- they primarily praise instead of pan (always harder to do than it looks). And they do it with a sense of humor.
Yet even with attention in the fashion world and thousands of readers, Corks and Caftans is still virtually unknown here in Capital Region -- a tragedy that will henceforth be rectified! As a public service, I met Carey and Rob to sample some wine and find out what the two tastemakers adore about this area.
Carey, a Florida girl before Rob talked her into migrating north, describes the Spa City as friendly, cozy and isolated. "We call it the bubble." The first words that Rob associates with 'Toga are culture, history and practical. "It has a great mix of everything," he says. "It's engaging."
Thanks to five years of helping with merchandising and buying for a high-end clothing boutique in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as a fashion internship in Manhattan, Carey knows a thing or two about what sells. Her favorite 518 brick-and-mortar shops:
- Pangea, for its quirky, eclectic mix of thoughtfully curated inventory
- Aggies for a tightly-edited selection and great jeans. She was especially pleased to find a Millard Fillmore trench coat for $50 at a sample sale there.
- She also has a lot of respect for the buyers at Hunt, Ltd.
- In Carey's opinion, Violet's of Saratoga is the most versatile store of all. She describes the merchandise as affordable, on-trend and easy to wear.
Both Rob and Carey like Purdy's Discount Wine and Liquor for its knowledgeable staff and reasonable prices. Spanish reds and American zinfandels are the best deals right now, says Rob. He prefers to find bottles in the $10-$20 range. "There's no challenge in finding a great $50 bottle of wine. It's far more exciting to find a $15 bottle that tastes like $50."
Paying the bills
In addition to shooting and editing photos and writing witty posts for the blog, Carey and Rob do actually find time to work. And no surprise here -- they both create things. Rob builds homes with his uncle in Vermont and Carey is a copywriter and marketing specialist for a design firm in Saratoga. One of Rob's recent projects included a master shower and kitchen in a home in south Vermont. "It took two weeks just to tile," he said, "I love building bathrooms!" Meanwhile, Carey wrote the copy and edited and arranged photos for the new Old Saratoga Restorations web site. "I got to have fun with it and learned a lot," said Carey. She's also written copy for a few Saratoga restaurant web sites.
Corks and Caftans helped Carey land her current job. She started writing the blog after being laid off from an advertising agency. While interviewing for her current job, she casually mentioned C&C. It turned out to be a wise choice. Her now-current boss liked her writing style on the site and ability to build an online community -- and hired her to apply the same skills to client projects.
The only issue now is that her co-workers end up knowing details about her private life. "I forget that he reads it," she says of her boss.
Carey and Rob plan to continuing nurturing their blog baby. A full site is in the works. "Comments from regular readers is the most rewarding part," hints Carey.
Rob would like to build custom wine cellars. Carey dreams of being a contributing fashion editor, anywhere, and helping with inventory management. She also wants to meet more Capital Region women who are passionate about fashion and creative dressing, especially during the brutal winters. "I'm most inspired by seeing how other people do it," says Carey. "Dressing in Miami is easy. This area creates character."
For now, you're likely to run into Carey and Rob at Chianti in Saratoga, where they'll be devouring the Del Chianti carpaccio, thinly sliced filet with a gorgonzola fondue and truffle oil. Carey confesses, "I think about it when I wake up."
all photos: Carey Wodehouse and Rob Burden
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